Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Toto's Pizza House

One of the best things about working in a hospitality once upon a time, is coming back and being the diner. It's been years since my tired little feet pounded the tiled floors of Toto's, but the greetings are standard "Niiiiiickiiii! Good to see ya sista".

I can't eat at any other pizzeria without feeling like I'm cheating on them. I do. And I always feel just a little bit guilty.

The menu at Toto's isn't going to blow you away, but all the favorites are there. Spaghetti Marinara, Pizza Bologna, Pumpkin Lasagna!     

I have a love hate relationship with pizza. I love a good pizza. But I hate how hard it is to find one. I'm not sure if its because I ate this style of pizza every week for years but I always love a Toto's super special.

And the marinara. The praws are juicy, and the sauce is always rich. I add a disgraceful amount of chili and cheese, and proceed to inhale the dish. Its not pretty.

If you are in the area, check out Toto's. The food is cheap, and service is friendly and fast, and I can assure you that the kitchen is clean and the people who work here are happy.

Perfect for a per Cinema Nova dinner.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hey Presto...Cashew & Parsley Pesto

The weather in Melbourne has been quite splendid this November.  Plenty of rain and loads of wonderful sunshine has kicked my garden plot into full production.

Among other delicious things, the garden plot has provided an abundance of parsley.

 What do you do with bags and bags full of parsley? You made PESTO!

I have had a pretty good success rate with pesto in the past, so this little recipe is an off the top of the head number. For this batch, I hijacked Nicole Jone's kitchen, and used her whiz bang food processor. But a mortar and pestle will do.

You will need:
  • a truck load of parsley 
  • around a cup of cashew 
  • a hand full of almonds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • around a quarter of a cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • a cup or so of Parmesan finely grated
  • teaspoon salt and a grind of pepper

remove stalks from the flat leaf

add nuts and give it a good whiz

add the cheese, and most of the olive oil...pulsing the food processor gently as you add the oil

and hey presto, you got PESTO!

The texture of the pesto was pretty dense, so I ground some more nuts separately and folded them into the mixture.

So what do you do with this green velvety delight? Why, you made pasta of course.

And you wash it down with a nice cold beer. Spring on a plate.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

CERES Salads!

My little garden has been bountiful....

From ground....

...to salad bowl

Sprin onion, + potatoe + parsley = kick ass potatoe salad!

Monday, November 8, 2010

My little slice of CERES

Back in June all my dreams came true. 

I received a magical little email from the CERES Garden Collective informing me that I was now the trustee of a garden plot number 5. I was so astonished to be reading this news, I had been on the waiting list for almost two years, I had all but forgotten about signing up! I am now a paid up and proud Garden Collective member!

So over the past few months, I have lived and breathed my little garden. I'm pretty sure that all of my friends a sick of hearing about soil conditioning and planting seasons, but I am totally committed, and discovering that I have a pretty green thumb! 

Some early pics of the plot - July/August 



Growing veggies has been something I have been interested in for a while. I like the idea of organic, local produce, and CERES has given me the opportunity to have a really good go at producing. I have had varied amounts of success in pots at home. Last year I had a wicked tomato/chili/basil crop, but nothing else really took off, much to my disappointment! 

Growing at CERES has been an entirely pleasurable experience. I'm not eating from it every night, but I have had a bunch of stuff, and been able to share with friends. 

My winter/early spring crop included spinach (tons!), beetroot, baby carrots, lettuce and rocket! 

I am patiently waiting for my potatoes (six months in the growing!).  Late spring/early summer is an exciting season, I have sweet corn, eggplant, chili, tomato and zucchini growing at various stages. I really can't tell you how much I am looking forward to the sweet sweet tomatoes. 

I will make a separate post with some of the lovely dishes I have made from my loot.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I have been cheating on my blog with my garden plot.

It has been a very long time since I have blogged. I'm just going to come out and say it, I have been cheating on my blog with my garden plot.

And I took a cheeky little holiday to Thailand. 

Now that I have thrown that one out there, I'm just going to move on, and start flooding you with joyous stories about the wonderful, beautiful and magical little plot I was so fortunate to inherit at CERES. With a few foodie posts that I have collected along the way over the past few months.

More to come.